St. Louis inching ahead in MLS expansion sweepstakes?

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As anyone who follows MLS expansion knows, the competition for the next league landing spot is as intense as it’s ever been.

With 22 teams now set to pass and trap by 2017, all signs point to two slots remaining open before a major freeze takes hold in terms of league growth. (New York will be No. 20, starting in 2015. Orlando will be No. 21 and Miami was recently announced as No. 22.)

So, Atlanta, San Antonio, Sacramento, St. Louis and others are lining up for their shot at this MLS thing. Atlanta, backed by the money and sports business muscle of NFL owner Arthur Blank, seems to have the inside track on 23.

The math says that leaves one itty-bitty chair still out there; and the music seems to be stopping.

So stories like this one now have a little extra weight, as St. Louis moves its effort forward by applying for United Soccer Leagues admission for 2015. The ultimate goal, they say, is an MLS side.

St. Louis has long looked and felt like a boffo MLS market waiting to happen. But “boffo market” doesn’t get you an MLS franchise. It takes big bucks. And a stadium plan.

St. Louis has been here before (AC St. Louis), but the financial heft just wasn’t there. This group has a long way to get there, too.